Payday on Block 16: Life and Leisure After the Colorado River Compact

Payday on Block 16: Life and Leisure After the Colorado River Compact

Date: April 26, 2022
Time: 5-8 p.m.
Cost: Free with Museum admission

Las Vegas in the 1920s is the focus of this multifaceted program developed by UNLV history students. Payday on Block 16 will consist of three elements:

  • Student-led walking tours from the Museum to Block 16, the city’s former red-light district. Students will discuss the history of Block 16 and downtown Las Vegas before and during the construction of Hoover Dam.
  • Silent film screenings with background and interpretation provided by UNLV film historian Heather Addison.
  • An “Ask the Experts” session during which attendees can pose questions to some of the community’s most knowledgeable historians.

The Colorado River Compact, signed on November 18, 1922, was an agreement among seven Western states on how Colorado River water would be allocated to each state. This agreement eventually led to the construction of Hoover Dam, which was a game-changing development for the small railroad town of Las Vegas.

Block 16 was a popular section of Las Vegas during the 1920s and ’30s, with a row of clubs offering liquor, gambling and prostitution. For Hoover Dam workers, Block 16 was a place to blow off steam and take a break from the harsh conditions of working on the dam.

Ask the Expert participants will include:

UNLV history professors Michael Green, Deirdre Clemente, Andrew Kirk and Michelle Turk, and area historians Andra Rothermel (Bureau of Reclamation) and Tiane Marie (Boulder City/Hoover Dam Museum).

For questions about this event, please contact us at 702.724.8615. For guests participating in the walking tours, please go to Museum’s Courtroom.